GHOSTSCAPE by Joe Layburn


Age Range: 8 - 10
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Good intentions fall flat with this time-travel novel starring a Somali girl in modern Britain. Aisha is bullied in her school until her ghostly journeys into London’s Blitz teach her valuable lessons about bullying—or something like that. Really, it's not exactly clear what lesson she learns through time travel. After befriending 1940s schoolboy Richard, Aisha is determined to save as many Londoners as she can from bombs that fell more than 50 years before she was born. In the process of dodging bombs (and through one epiphany in a church, truly bizarre for this Muslim heroine), she overcomes her grief over her father’s death. Parallels between World War II and the war in Somalia would work better if there were discussion of the Somali war; instead Aisha's story is wholly absorbed with wartime London. Well-meaning if confusing, it calls to mind Terry Pratchett’s Johnny and the Bomb (2007) and unfortunately pales in comparison. (author’s note) (Fantasy. 8-10)

Pub Date: Nov. 1st, 2009
ISBN: 978-1-84507-826-3
Page count: 112pp
Publisher: Frances Lincoln
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: Oct. 15th, 2009